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Get an MBA, Get a Divorce? (Part 2 of 3)

September 5th, 2008 · Comments

Case Study 2

B and his wife had been married for 10 years. B decided to go to business school because he wanted to move into management. His wife fully supported his decision — she had always had very high expectations for her husband and she wanted him to do better professionally. The only problem was that she just started a new business while B’s school was thousands of miles away. So, they decided to live long-distance during B’s business school career.

B greatly enjoyed his business school career, and often shared his experience with his wife. At the time of graduation, B got a great job, and was ready to return to his home town to reunite with his wife. He also wanted to have kids and raise a family.

However, his wife had a different thought — she wanted to go to business school as well. After hearing stories from her husband and his classmates, she really wanted to be part of the "club" as well — in fact, she had an MBA from a small unknown school. But, she wanted the prestige and brand of a top MBA program. So, she applied and was accepted into a top program (Yes, it’s possible to get two MBAs! :-) )

By now, this couple is living apart again. B’s wife had no plan to have kids — she is looking forward to graduate from the top MBA program, and get a prestigious job with one of the top investment banks.

At this point, they had totally different life and career plan, and it’s not compatible at all. They parted away. It was heart-wrenching for both of them.

I think B and his wife had the divorce because they had grown apart. However, one thing I have noticed in business school was that business school seems to raise people’s expectations and ambitions in a very narrow way — "I just graduate from a top school, I have all of the credentials and prestige, I have to be someone." This sometimes affects not only the person who attends the school, but also their spouse or family members. In fact, this might affect the family members more because they are outsiders, and they tend to see and hear stories about the glamour of business school, not the stress, peer pressure, frustration and down sides of attending business schools.

Unfortunately, success is much more than landing a job with a Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. It’s much more than moving fast in the corporate rank. It’s much more than working 100 hours per week and becoming super rich in 5 years. Family, friends, relationships, health, community, etc. do matter.

Read Case Study #3

Read Introduction and Cast Study #1

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Tags: MBA

 
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